Think Like a Philosopher

Learn from the greatest thinkers of all time and apply these ideas to your life.
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  • Lectures 27
  • Contents Video: 1.5 hours
    Other: 1.5 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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About This Course

Published 1/2014 English

Course Description

At this point you may be asking yourself: What does philosophy have to do with me? This is a common question for students to ask especially after a brief exposure to some of the concepts in philosophy. However, philosophy has a direct bearing on much of everyday life. Let's look at it in terms of the major questions we'll address in this course.


Is knowledge innate or learned from sense experience? If you have children this question and the search for an answer has direct bearing on your life since the question has major implications for education. Nearly every educator has been a philosopher or influenced by a philosopher for whom this was an important question. The origin of knowledge and how it is acquired is important to know or have some idea about if you are at all concerned about effective education. For adults the question has bearing as well in terms of being able to learn new things. In an economy drive by information and information technology how we process this information is directly relevant to our everyday lives. So, philosophers like John Locke, Immanuel Kant, and John Dewey who investigate this question are also relevant.

Is the mind independent of the brain? Philosophers and scientists have been investigating the mind, the brain, and their interaction for centuries. We'll see many competing theories on this question but how is any of this relevant to you? One very big word can answer that: psychopharmacology. Do you or anyone you know take some medication for ADHD, ADD, depression, bipolar disorder? If so, then questions about how the mind and brain work and interact are directly relevant to your everyday life not to mention your overall mood, happiness, and general mental state. These drugs could not have been discovered and developed without some idea about how the mind and brain worked. While these may seem like exclusively scientific questions, much of the work in the area of neurology has been done and continues to be done by philosophers. Some of the philosophers we'll look at in this area include Rene Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, John Searle, and J.J.C. Smart.

Is there an objective reality independent of appearance and perception? This question sounds very esoteric and perhaps far removed from and irrelevant to everyday life. But, like most philosophical concepts, relevance lurks just below the surface if you know where to look. Many of you may be familiar with the prayer of serenity:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Embedded in this prayer is the notion that there is a difference between what you can change and what you cannot. This is simply the distinction between objective reality and perception. Though not all philosophers we'll study agree that there is a difference between the two, the notion that there is a difference is the basis of at least one major school of philosophy called Stoicism. The notion that there is a difference between what you can change or control and what you cannot is a central idea in Stoicism and as such has formed the philosophical basis for much of self-help psychology. One consistent piece of advice contained in almost every volume of self-help literature is the importance of recognizing this distinction.

Is there a God? For many of you this will be one of the easiest questions to relate to everyday life especially if you practice some form of religion. But, it may also seem irrelevant since you may be thinking that it can only be answered by faith and therefore is not worth asking. But, these sentiments themselves are philosophical in nature and bear examining (which we will do!). One philosopher we'll be studying named Thomas Aquinas pointed out that the question of God's existence is fundamental to every other religious question one can ask. If God's existence cannot be established the remaining religious questions are moot. At the very least an examination of the historical ideas related to these questions might be enlightening and lead to a deepening of one's religious sentiments.

My purpose in this class is not to tell you what to think. I want to show you how to think philosophically but I do not want to change your beliefs. Philosophy may challenge them but it need not destroy them. In fact, you may find that it will strengthen them.


So I invite you to enter the world of philosophy!

What are the requirements?

  • This course requires no previous knowledge of philosophy only an interest in learning and an open mind!

What am I going to get from this course?

  • In this course you will learn how to formulate a consistent personal philosophical outlook.
  • In this course you will learn how to justify philosophical positions by appealing to reason and evidence.
  • In this course you will learn how to apply philosophical concepts to everyday life.

What is the target audience?

  • This course is designed for an introductory student and requires no previous knowledge of philosophy.

What you get with this course?

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Curriculum

12:57

An overview of the main philosophical areas we'll be discussing in this course with an emphasis on questions of knowledge, reality, and their application to everyday life.

Section 1: Philosophy: Ancient Philosophy
10:19

An overview of how ideas are very powerful and influential to our everyday lives.

02:51

5 Common misconceptions about philosophy are addressed.

12:45

Plato's theory of the forms is covered in this lecture as well as the reasoning behind it and the problems it was designed to solve.

02:03

Some ideas for applying the insights of Plato to everyday life.

09:42

In this lecture we will discuss Aristotle's reactions to Plato's theory of the forms and his own alternative theory. This provides us with some insight into the process of theory development and criticism which is a central part of the development of philosophical ideas.

01:44

Some ideas for applying the insights of Aristotle to everyday life.

09:54

We consider some of the important schools of philosophy after Aristotle including the Stoics whose ideas continue to be a source of insight for solving everyday problems.

10:58

A description of the relevance of philosophy to everyday life.

Section 2: Philosophy: Modern Philosophy
10:52

An examination of the empirical philosophy of John Locke and how it led to the metaphysics of idealism.

01:20

An examination of how we can use the insights of John Locke in everyday life.

07:53

David Hume's "radical empiricism" which entails a denial of such seemingly obvious ideas as cause and effect, material substance, and the self.

01:24

Some examples are given of how Hume insight about belief can be applied to everyday life.

10:50

An overview of Kant's critical philosophy which attempted to solve the problems left behind by Hume's radical empiricism.

03:24

Some tips on using philosophy to help you get organized.

Philosophy After Kant
06:02
10:22

More recent developments of rationalism including current research and findings which seem to bear out the claim that some of our knowledge is innate.

11:45

An examination of early 20th century philosophy which sets the stage for our investigation of the ideas of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

02:00

Some practical insights from Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations.

01:35

Some practical insights from Wittgenstein's On Certainty.

Section 3: Philosophy of Religion and Ethics
02:17

A short thought experiment in ethics.

02:07

A short thought experiment in ethics.

02:25

A short thought experiment in ethics.

02:14

A short thought experiment in ethics.

02:21

A short thought experiment in ethics.

15:28

A final summation of the philosophers and ideas covered in the course with some additional insights into the practical application.

02:50

A final thought about philosophy and everyday life.

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Instructor Biography

Kevin Browne, Professor of Philosophy

I am an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville, KY. I have been teaching philosophy for over 12 years. The courses I currently teach include introduction to logic, introduction to philosophy, ethics, medical ethics, and business ethics. I teach these courses online as well as in person.

My research interests in philosophy include philosophical counseling, philosophy of education, philosophy of religion, and the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

I am a practicing philosophical counselor and member of the American Philosophical Practicioners Association. I have published books on introductory philosophy, logic, ethics, and business ethics.

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